Will food poisoning lawyer Bill Marler sue Weston A. Price Foundation over raw milk advocacy? — first noise from AVMA’s Seattle Raw Milk Symposium

Here’s a fascinating story from David E. Gumpert’s The Complete Patient blog about rumblings leading up to Sunday’s raw milk symposium to be hosted by the American Veterinary Medical Association in Seattle. An excerpt:

Lead image on the Marler Clark raw milk powerpoint for the AVMA symposium.

Lead image on the Marler Clark raw milk powerpoint for the AVMA symposium.

“I thought this symposium on raw milk Sunday sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association (described in my previous post) would be a tame affair. But food poison lawyer Bill Marler has signaled he’s coming with machine guns blazing. He posted his PowerPoint presentation planned for Sunday on his blog (click on the blue page below the introductory text to launch the PowerPoint presentation), and three slides in particular suggest he has trained his legal guns on the Weston A. Price Foundation.

After running through a tutorial on the legalities of liability for raw milk illnesses (comparative fault, liability waivers, etc.) slide 13 is headed, “Trade Association Liability” and says, “The crux of trade association liability is whether consumers rely on the association’s information and expertise.”

The next slide, #14, is headed, “The ‘Price’ of Weston A. Price’s Prominence” and a copy of the foundation’s Real Milk page is shown.

Just for good measure, slide #15 argues that cow share agreements (promoted by the foundation) “seek to avoid bans on unlicensed sale of raw milk” and are “not a valid interpretation of many states’ licensing requirements.” Pouring more oil on the fire, slide #16 recaps the “case just finished” in which two Marler clients sued Organic Pastures Dairy Co.

Marler has apparently taken offense previously about suggestions on the Weston A. Price Foundation’s site that raw milk is healthy for children. Now he seems to be suggesting the foundation can be potentially held liable for illnesses to children under “trade association liability.”

Guess I have two immediate questions: Is this a new front in the FDA/CDC/state ag agency political war on raw milk? In other words, “trade association liability” becomes a new front in the war to put a lid on the raw dairy supply that includes harassing dairy farmers with phantom findings of listeria, intimidating them with bogus search warrants, and breaking up buying clubs….”

Read the whole story here.

See the Marler Clark raw milk powerpoint presentation here.

Bill Marler was the guy who brought Michael Pollan to Washington State University. See our story about that here.

More on the AMVA Raw Milk Symposium from Amanda Rose, the sole raw milk consumer advocate participating in the event. This is excerpted from her blog “Rebuld — the blog”:

I head to Seattle late next week to participate in a symposium on raw milk, “The Raw Milk Conundrum,” sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association. I am neither a veterinarian or a member of the medical community, but I do like Seattle. I am also the only raw milk consumer on the panel and am speaking on free choice. The paper, “Free choice in a complex information environment: The case of raw milk” hopefully will take a whole lot less time to make it to print than did my book currently at the printer. (She says with great hope but with not having finished the paper yet.)

Some of the data from Amandas survey. From foodgraphs.net/food/rawmilk.html

Some of the data from Amanda's survey. From foodgraphs.net/food/rawmilk.html

The paper makes an argument for “free access” to food as well as “free choice,” where “access” is the legal barriers to purchase and “choice” is the actual decision to buy a particular product. It is not an advocacy paper, rather it discusses a philosophy of food choice. Stay tuned.

The paper makes some use of a survey I conducted of raw milk advocates. You can find some of the demographic information at the FoodGraphs.net site. (Raw milk advocate graphs.)…”

Read the whole of Amanda’s post here.

See more graphs of raw milk user demographics

7 Comments

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7 responses to “Will food poisoning lawyer Bill Marler sue Weston A. Price Foundation over raw milk advocacy? — first noise from AVMA’s Seattle Raw Milk Symposium

  1. thebovine

    I believe Bill is alluding to the 27 comments on the Complete Patient blog with his “too”: http://www.thecompletepatient.com/journal/2009/7/9/food-poison-lawyer-suggests-he-might-sue-wapf-as-fireworks-s.html#comments

  2. Cheryl Hadden

    My view of the…
    The Alexandre Eco Farms Dairy Raw Milk Campylobacter Outbreak

    This whole story has too many holes in it. I’m not saying that this poor woman has not suffered, or blaming her in any way.
    It’s the doctors who are suspect, something is wrong with their conclusions and methods. The fact that they raced out and published a report in a medical journal for their own benefit, without further study or testing, makes them questionable.

    You have to ask questions to get answers. Why the long explanation of GBS and Campylobacter infection? To bolster a weak story? Or intimidate the reader into believing without question whatever is being said in this article? If her case goes to court, wouldn’t such articles tend to bias a jury? You can’t shield a jury from something they have already seen.

    There is no mention of IF they found a connection between “genes encoding the bacterial membrane component lipooligosaccharide (LOS) in GBS-associated Campylobacter jenuni.” in this woman’s blood. Or that she actually had a Campylobacter jenuni infection at all. She gastrointestinal symptoms, “Mari Tardiff, had already been hospitalized with GBS, following the onset of acute gastroenteritis after consumption of the milk.” Was she tested then for Campylobacter jenuni? Try reading again and asking some questions…

    “The causal link between Alexandre Eco Farms Dairy and Mari’s illness was so clear, and her injuries so remarkable, that the physicians that treated her published a report on her case in the medical journal. “Investigation of the First Case of Guillain-Barre Syndrome Associated with Consumption of Unpasteurized Milk – California, 2008.” Amy K. Earon, T. Martinelli, W. Miller, C. Parker, R. Mandrell, D. Vugia. The authors explained the laboratory methods used in investigating Mari’s illness:

    We reviewed the patient’s medical record and interviewed her husband to assess her symptoms and exposures. We used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) to test a six-week old unpasteurized milk sample, obtained from the cow leasing-program and partially consumed by the patient, for genes encoding the bacterial membrane component lipooligosaccharide (LOS) in GBS-associated Campylobacter jenuni.

    In addition to the DNA testing, the authors also tested Mari’s blood for anti-bodies to GBS. The authors then explained that the PCR and MLST testing of the milk detected Campylobacter jejuni gene. In addition, the blood test was positive for anti-bodies that indicated the presence of GBS. The authors concluded, “Combined laboratory and epidemiologic evidence established the first reported association between GBS and unpasteurized milk consumption.”

    Always challenge medical authority, they are frequently wrong and tend to hide the truth.

  3. marre sadig

    The FDA is a hypocrite.
    The Dept of Agriculture is a hypocrite.
    There is a war going on against natural, raw foods, things that have been eaten since the dawn of time, are suddenly dangerous. I mean the food itself, not the way food is being grown and processed.
    It’s the food that is being made the villian.
    It’s against the law for a farmer to sell raw milk, but the same farmer could get a liquor license and sell all the booze he wanted, let folks get drunk and drive home. He could sell cigarettes and all the artificially flavored, colored, scented, processed with all kinds of brain cell killing sweeteners, like nutrisweet with no problem. It can be full of known neurotoxins and mercury, but those are legal and according to the FDA , mercury is good for you!
    And if I owned a drug manufacturing company, I’d get blanket immunity from lawsuits for my vaccines, even if I kill a million people!
    My chemist can think up all kinds of mixes, as long as they do one of the things we claim, well, it doesn’t matter how much harm it does. And as long as my formula helps one person, so what if it killed and maimed 1oo’s of thousands.
    The FDA says that if they approved my drug, it’s all good, forever!
    But, they’ll swoop down and put me in jail for selling one drop of raw milk.
    The new law says that I can be arrested for speaking out and saying that raw milk, vitamins or ice packs can heal anything.
    According to the FDA, only a drug can treat (not heal) anything that has been declared by them a disease.
    Hypocrites!

  4. This really just comes down to freedom. Do I have the freedom to make a decision about the safety of raw milk, or not? I think raw milk from a safe source, is safe. The FDA does not. Do they have the power to take away my freedom of choice to purchase raw milk?

    I hope not!

  5. Michael Doucette

    Hi my name is Michael Doucette I got food poison on February 8 2010. I bought two bottles of Chicken noodle soup from a big well known food store and eat some then got really sick . I spent almost 2 day’s in Scarborough Hospital and I still have the soup bottles I’m not sure if has Salmonella or not but up till today I still feel really sick and if it doesn’t get better I will have to go back to hospital. Can you get back to me on what to do and if I have a case or not. My cell is 647 999-7756.

    Thank You
    Michael Doucette

  6. Alan

    it would be difficult to picture any portion of the government having any new ideas.

    Plantiffs lawyers pay for their Mercedes-Benz’s by having great new ideas about how to get a jury fired up with sympathy for a sufferer simultaneous with anger at someone who’s got a bank account worth raiding.

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